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Twitch switches to new advertising model in move to curb ad blocking

Gaming-focused streaming service Twitch is adopting a new advertising approach that will “reduce the efficacy” of ad blockers while ensuring a broader reach and more consistent delivery for advertisers.

Twitch product marketer Robin Fontaine notes that the service’s newly introduced SureStream technology “will allow us to improve the video advertising experience for viewers and partners, improve ad deliverability by reducing the impact of third party services that bypass ads, and increase the advertising revenue pool available for partners.”

The platform’s upcoming move to SureStream technology will also allow Twitch to serve its own ads without relying on third-party providers, according to a Variety report.

Related: Amazon unveils three streaming-friendly games built with Twitch in mind

Launched in 2011, Twitch.tv is a free streaming service that allows gamers to broadcast live gameplay footage to crowds of digital spectators. The service relies on a video advertising model for support, and members frequently see pre-roll ads when loading up new streams. Partnered streamers are also given the option to run video ads at whim, and are entitled to a cut of the profits.

According to Twitch, SureStream technology stands to benefit partnered streamers while making the platform more attractive for advertisers by reducing the likelihood of automated ad blocking. The Verge likens the approach to the advertising strategy previously adopted by Facebook, which confuses ad blockers into thinking that ads are part of a given site’s non-advertising content.

“Advertising is a crucial piece of the Twitch economy that helps support our creators. But we know it can be better,” Twitch’s Fontaine said. “Today we’re taking a big next step by starting a gradual rollout of SureStream, new video technology that brings more of the ad delivery experience under our control so that we can optimize it in ways that benefit the entire community.”

Twitch acknowledges the widespread use of ad blockers among its user base, and notes that members are still free to use such software if they wish. It’s clear, however, that Twitch is aiming to reduce the efficacy of browser add-ons and extensions that are specifically designed to eliminate ads.

“We are well aware that many dedicated Twitch viewers use software that bypasses ads, and the rollout of this technology will reduce the efficacy of such software,” Fontaine explains. “As a company we are agnostic when it comes to the use of this software. You are free to use it, or not, as you see fit. We invested in SureStream because it helps us provide the best experience possible for the whole of the Twitch community.”